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Sign Language Interpreter Request Process

When to Request an Interpreter:

  • When a participant in a meeting, discussion, training, or event requests a sign language interpreter; or

  • When you know that deaf individuals will be attending a meeting, discussion, training, or event (e.g., a graduation ceremony where some of the students have deaf parents); and

  • When a sign language interpreter is necessary to effectively communicate the information in the meeting, discussion, training, or event.

Informing the Public:

It is important to provide a mechanism for deaf individuals to request interpreters from agencies and to advise deaf individuals that they need to provide no less than 5 business days’ notice.

Fliers and web postings for events, meetings, and outreach programs must provide a statement that informs residents and consumers that if they are in need of a reasonable accommodation (such as sign language) they must notify "_______________ [contact person and contact information] to make the request no less than 5 business days prior to the event.”

The Request Process:

  1. Sign language interpreters must be requested by the agency involved.

    • Requests directly from participants will be referred to the agency.
  2. Agency should complete the Sign Language Interpreter Request Form
    • Please allow at least 5 business days in advance of the event (we will attempt to arrange interpreters on shorter notice, but cannot guarantee availability)
    • Submit the form to the Office of Disability Rights.
      • Email (preferred): [email protected] 
      • Fax: 202-727-9484; or
      • Mail: 441 4th St., NW, Suite 729 North, Washington, DC 20001
    • Contact ODR with questions:
      • Main number: (202) 724-5055
  3. ODR will contact the agency for additional information if needed
  4. ODR will approve or deny the request and notify the agency
    • Agency should notify the client
  5. ODR will arrange the interpreter(s)
  6. ODR will submit evaluations to the Agency and the Client
  7. The Agency will pay the cost of the interpreting services pursuant to the contract. In addition, the Agency is responsible for all cancelation costs – including if the resident or consumer canceled the request.

NOTE: If ODR is unable to fulfill the agency's request, you can find alternative resources here:


Contact the Office of Disability Rights:
Main Number: (202) 724-5055 or [email protected]